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WOMEN = MINORITY = WHY?

Yotsana, Student at Amity University.

Women are considered a minority group, even though the sex ratio of the entire world population is just 101 males to 100 female, simply because they do not share the same power, privileges, rights and opportunities as their male counterparts.

According to wikipedia, “In the social sciences, the term ‘minority’ is used to refer to categories of persons who hold few positions of social powers. Members of minority groups are prone to different treatment in the countries and societies in which they live”. It also says that this discrimination may be direct, implying the individual’s perceived membership of a minority group without any consideration of his personal achievements. It may also occur indirectly, due to a social structure that is not equally accessible to all.

Women have made great strides in gaining access to education and employment, but to this day they continue to face significant hurdles that men generally do not confront.

Although women are not a statistical minority as in most societies they are roughly equal in number to men, but they do qualify as a minority group in the sense of having less power and privileges than men. Underlying this unequal treatment of women is sexism, which is discrimination based on sex, and, in the context of a patriarchal society, discrimination against women in particular.Discrimination against women is evident in a number of different spheres of society, whether political, legal, economic or familial. It must, however, be noted that the issue is rarely as simple as that of men versus women.

Societies today are home to a variety of different classes, ethnicities, races and nationalities, and some groups of women may enjoy a higher status and more power relative to select groups of men, depending on factors such as what racial and ethnic groups they are associated with.

India with a sex ratio of 940 females per 1000 males is home of unspeakable crimes against women.

A country, where the number of female goddess worshipped are way more than their male counterparts, witnesses heinous crimes like rapes, female foeticide, dowry, domestic violence, sexual harassment, coercive use of contraceptives, honour killings, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and the list goes on and on,

Amid empty talk of ‘empowerment of women’- rapes, molestations, eve-teasing have become a routine affair for women and girl-children in every city, town, rural area across the length and breadth of this country.

All this has roots going back centuries. The insecurity and fear of being a woman is further reinforced by moth-eaten traditions and beliefs. Education has not been able to bring about the desirable change in the attitudes. For e.g. the so-called ‘liberated class’ gives dowry to their daughters as a matter of false prestige when it has options available to make them stand on their feet so that they could make independent choices. The end result of such cases is no secret - dowry deaths.

At the ground level, women occupying high posts as head of state, prime minister, speaker, leader of opposition, chief of political party or holding other constitutional posts in the country are not making any material difference to the abysmal condition of other women.

Recently during the Prime ministerial electoral campaign, NarendraModi was seen talking about women and their empowerment in his rallies and speeches. The issue of women safety was a major point of concern for all the political parties and it acquired a significant placement in their manifestos as well.

The main points regarding women in the BJP manifesto are as follows :

  • 1. The first priority in the women’s section has been given to the 33% women’s reservation bill. BJP’s manifesto promised that it would pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Parliament and all state Assemblies. The Bill has been pending after being passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010, but the Lok Sabha hasn’t voted on the Bill.
  • 2. Emphasis has been given to the ‘BetiBachao, BetiPadhao’ campaign in the manifesto. NarendraModi has at various platforms said that this is his priority. Also, one ad has been launched by the BJP in which NarendraModi talks about this ‘BetiBachao, BetiPadhao’ national campaign .This ad also talks about the need to understand the equal status of women.
  • 3. Comprehensive Schemes like BalikaSamrudhi, LadliLaxmi and ChiranjeeviYojna: will be completely implemented for the welfare of the girl child in all urban and rural areas of the country. The negative attitude of the family and society towards the girl child and her education will be changed. The child and mother’s mortality rate will be reduced in all parts of the country.
  • 4. The Manifesto also promises to come up with dedicated Women ITIs in the country, which will help women to have job assurance. The women ITIs will help in increasing women’s participation in different skill sectors, which is missing from the overall percentage of the country which is male dominated.
  • 5. All women Mobile Banks, is also an issue mentioned in the manifesto. The Women Mobile banks will make access easy and safe for women. Moreover, it will generate employment for the women in the country.
The irony is that there are no pro-active steps from governments, humanrights organisations, women’s organisations or women politicians to bring about a visible major policy shift in respect of administration of justice, law and order and change in the functioning of police which has a mind-set tilted against working or ‘liberated women.’

A steep decline in the quality of governance, proportionate rise in public inertia and self-centered attitude or simple indifference of the public has made matters worse for women, particularly from the Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes who remainvulnerable against muscle, money and political powers of the upper castes within a dominant feudal structure.

All situations and conditions that lead to minority status for women should be eliminated as women aren’t a minority. Just ensure equal rights and same privileges. Women need no different or special treatment, they just need proper implementations of the laws that are there to ensure equal rights for all human beings and which make them safe and secure.Education can do no good to humankind unless the ‘human’ is ‘kind’ to another ‘human’, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, race, wealth, health or sexual orientation.

Posted on June 23, 2014



--- The Indian Minority